Is eavesdropping legal?

UPDATED: Sep 30, 2022

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Is eavesdropping legal?

Is it legal for my employer to put a wireless device in our office to listen in and record what is said in the office?
He purchased a device that he hooked up to wifi that can both see us and listen to us in real time and is also recorded.
He has also given his son access to the app that is used to listen/see us.

Asked on January 18, 2017 under Employment Labor Law, New York


M.D., Member, California and New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

As a general rule, it is permissable for an employer to have video/audio surveillance in the workplace. Typically, no employee consent is required for this since essentially there is no right to privacy if there is no "expectation of privacy". Therefore, a business has the right to install surveillance systems. That is so long as they are not installed in only such systems such bathrooms, dressing or break rooms or other such areas that would be deemed to be private spaces. Additionally, if it wants to set up a surveillance system that would record in individual offices, it would need to disclose this to affected employees, pursuant to state specific law. At this point check your employee handbook for company policy concerning on this or see if the issue is addressed in any applicable employment contract/union agreement. You can also consult directly with an employment lawyer in your area.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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